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MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1947.
UNITED STATES CUSTOMS COURT
STATEMENT OF HARRY P. CHANDLER, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRA
TIVE OFFICE, UNITED STATES COURTS
SALARIES AND EXPENSES
Mr. STEFAN. We will now take up the United States Customs Court.
STATEMENT ON APPROPRIATIONS, 1948, AND ESTIMATES, 1949 The justifications appear on page 62 of the justifications and page 16 of the committee print. Page 62 of the justifications will be in
. serted in the record at this point.
(The justification table referred to is as follows:)
Salaries and expenses, U. S. Customs Court 1947 appropriations (including supplementals) 1948 budget estimates---
$336, 950 356, 400
1948 appropriation in annual act--
Within-grade salary advancements
Mr. STEFAN. I see that you had an appropriation for 1948 of $356,400, and that you are making a request for 1949 of $361,700, or an increase of $5,300. Most of that is for within-grade salaries advancements, and there is a small amount for regular pay in excess of the 52-week base.
We had with us on Friday the presiding judge, Webster J. Oliver, and his clerk. Judge Oliver presented a statement to the committee and it is available to the members of the committee.
Now, Mr. Chandler is here. Do you have a statement to make on this, Mr. Chandler, due to the absence of Judge Oliver?
INCREASE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES
Mr. CHANDLER. All I can say, gentlemen of the subcommittee, is that the appropriation asked for 1949 is the same as the appropriation for the current year, plus the amount for within-grade increases in salary, which will fall due in 1949, plus $800 representing the compensation for the one day over 52 weeks that there will be in 1949. I am sorry that Judge Oliver is not here this morning.
Mr. STEFAN. Judge Oliver has been here. Mr. CHANDLER. He has been here and would be here today except for the fact he has an appointment to attend an important hearing in Philadelphia.
That, as far as I can see it, is the situation. The appropriation asked is the same for next year except for the addition of the automatic salary increases, which will fall due, and the cost of the one extra day beyond 52 weeks that there will be in the coming year.
Mr. STEFAN. If Judge Oliver has anything additional to say, he is perfectly free to add to his remarks.
Mr. CHANDLER. Thank you very much. (The following was submitted later:)
STATEMENT OF HON. WEBSTER J. OLIVER, PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES
CUSTOMS COURT, IN REFERENCE TO THE ESTIMATES FOR APPROPRIATIONS FOR THAT COURT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1949
As the presiding judge of the United States Customs Court I submit this brief statement in justification of our estimates of contemplated expenditures for our court for the fiscal year 1949. At the outset let me say that we are asking for no increase over our 1948 budget other than the items providing for the within-grade salary advancements in the amount of $4,500 and regular pay in excess of the 52-week base which represents an expenditure of $800 or a total of $5,300 for the full fiscal year. The requested increases in salaries are provided for by law and cover the automatic periodic increments. The $800 item as previously stated is the estimated cost of one extra day's pay in the fiscal year 1949.
All other items set forth in our estimates are the same as provided and allowed in our 1948 budget and are necessary and required by us for the proper functioning of the affairs of the court for the 1949 fiscal year. The court will endeavor to keep the costs within the scale of the amounts appropriated notwithstanding the fact : that many items of costs are continuing to rise.
The members of the committee, I feel sure, are familiar with the highly specialized character of the work of our court and the fact that the very peculiarity of its work calls for an experienced and highly trained staff. The volume of litigation is remaining constant but we look for an increase in the litigation handled in our court now that the war is over and more and more merchandise is and will be coming in from abroad.
DECEMBER 15, 1947.
COURT OF CLAIMS
STATEMENT OF HON. BENJAMIN H. LITTLETON, ASSOCIATE
JUSTICE; HON. SAMUEL WHITTAKER, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE; HON. EVAN HOWELL, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE; AND WILLARD HART, CLERK OF THE COURT
SALARIES AND EXPENSES
Mr. STEFAN. We have with us Judge Benjamin H. Littleton, Judge Samuel Whittaker, Judge Evan Howell, and Mr. Willard Hart, Clerk of the Court of Claims.
STATEMENT OF APPROPRIATIONS, 1948 AND ESTIMATES, 1949
The justifications will be found on page 69 of the justifications. We will insert pages 69 and 70 in the record at this point.
(The justification tables referred to are as follows:)
Summary statement relating appropriation estimates to current appropriations
Court of Claims 1947 appropriations (including supplementals).
$471, 500 1948 budget estimates (including amendments and recommended supplementals).
869, 500 1948 appropriations in annual act.
461,000 1948 appropriations in supplemental act.. Total appropriations for 1948.
461,000 Net difference, 1949 over 1948:
Total estimates of appropriations, 1949.
487, 100 Statement relating appropriation estimate to current appropriation-Salaries and
expenses, Court of Claims 1947 appropriations..
$450, 000 1948 budget extimates
511, 900 1948 appropriation in annual act..
450, 000 Additions: Within-grade salary advancements
$3, 950 Regular pay in excess of 52-week base, 5 U. S. C. 944. 1, 050
Mr. STEFAN. I notice that your appropriation for 1948 was $461,000 and that you are requesting $487,100, or an increase of $26,100.
Judge Littleton, are you going to justify these appropriations, and have you a statement to make to the committee? If so, you may proceed at this time.
Judge LITTLETON. Mr. Chairman, we are asking for only what you gave us last year without any additions other than the $5,000, which is automatic.
Mr. STEFAN. Plus $21,100, repairs to the Court of Claims Building. Judge LITTLETON. Yes. I will explain that item.
WORK LOAD OF THE COURT
Mr. STEFAN. Will you justify those increases and tell us something about your work load?
Judge LITTLETON. I can make a brief statement with reference to the court's docket.
On July 1, 1947, we had 1,409 cases pending; 546 new cases were filed up to December 1, 1947, making a total of 1,955 cases. Two hundred and twenty-one cases have been disposed of by the Court, and we have on the docket 1,734 cases as of December 1, 1947.
Mr. STEFAN. How does that compare with previous years—say the last 3, 4, or 5 years? Is your work load going up or down? Do you have a break-down of your work load there?
Judge LITTLETON. Yes, I have a break-down of the cases pending on July 1, 1946, July 1, 1947, ad December 1, 1947.
Mr. STEFÁN. We will insert that in the record at this point. (The tabulation referred to is as follows:)
NotE.-Of the 1,734 pending cases, 64 percent are class and 36 percent regular cases.
Judge LITTLETON. The number of cases coming in now is increasing somewhat. That is the present indication.
For the last fiscal year ended July 1, 1947, we had 381 class cases filed and 225 separate individual cases, or a total of 606.
So far from July 1 to December 1 we have had 546 new and remanded cases. That indicates an increase in the cases that are coming in. The volume of war cases that we had expected to receive has not greatly increased so far. The statute allows 6 years within which suits may be filed. However, many of the cases that we are receiving now are cases growing out of the conditions existing because of the requisition and contract cases and other cases of that type.
Mr. STEFAN. Tell us something of the outstanding cases that are going to require work on the part of the court.
Judge LITTLETÓN. We have a number of Indian cases that have been taking a great deal of time to hear and determine. Most of those cases involve accounting and valuation. We have a number of contract cases for large construction projects during the period of the war.
Mr. STEFAN. Put into the record at this point the number of Indian cases.
Judge LITTLETON. Yes. We have 33 Indian cases. The 1,734 pending cases are classified as follows: Army and Navy
1 Overtime-pay cases (class cases)
Alaska Railroad employee.
66 365 278
25 Property requisitioned.
116 Transportation of property via truck or railroad..
48 Mr. STEFAN. Are the Indian cases growing out of the activity of the Indian Claims Commission?
Judge LITTLETON. No, sir; we have had no cases from the Indian Claims Commission so far.
We had on our docket on July 1, 1946, 15 Indian cases; on July 1, 1947, we had 32 cases; and on December 1, 1947, we had 33 Indian cases.
Mr. STEFAN. What are some of the big cases outside of the Indian cases?
Judge LITTLETON. There are no outstanding cases. All the cases are of the usual general type that fall within our general jurisdiction-contract cases involving war contracts; requisition cases involving the taking of private property without payment of just compensation; and patent-infringement cases. We have had a large number of class cases involving overtime compensation of customs officers, Panama Canal employees, immigration officers, and certain groups of civilian employees of the War Department. For the most part, the cases growing out of the war effort involve many new and complicated issues and large records.